Florida's struggling citrus industry continues to see a decline in the crop for the current growing season, with the harvest on track for the lowest yield since before World War II.

Florida Citrus Grower Takes $23 Million Hit From Hurricane Ian

Alico, Inc., a major Fort Myers-based citrus grower, took about a $23 million hit from Hurricane Ian
Alico, Inc., a major Fort Myers-based citrus grower, took about a $23 million hit from Hurricane Ian, Source: TFP

Alico, Inc., a major Fort Myers-based citrus grower, took about a $23 million hit from Hurricane Ian and will see lower revenue in 2023 because of the storm, the company said Tuesday in an earnings report.

John Kiernan, president, and chief executive officer, said the Category 4 hurricane, which made landfall Sept. 28 in Southwest Florida and crossed the state, caused “substantial fruit drop at the majority of our groves,” but tree damage was largely limited to one property.

The company uses a Sept. 30 end of its fiscal year. It said the storm affected the financial results through about $23 million of “one-time items for casualty losses and inventory adjustments.” Kiernan also said Alico will see lower revenue in the 2023 fiscal year because it will have less fruit to sell.

“Based upon our prior experience with storms of this nature, we anticipate it may take up to two seasons or more for our groves to recover to pre-hurricane production levels,” Kiernan said in a prepared statement. “After Hurricane Irma struck in 2017, our groves recovered the following harvest season. We maintain crop insurance and are working closely with our insurers and adjusters to evaluate and determine the amount of insurance recovery we may be entitled to, if any.”

The powerful hurricane came as Florida’s citrus industry already had seen the lowest production levels in decades, in part because of deadly citrus greening disease and development pressure. But Tuesday’s report indicated that Alico had fared better than many other growers.

“Alico remains focused on carrying on its business for the long term,” Kiernan said. “In fact, we believe that we are the only citrus grower in the state of Florida that closed on a small acquisition for additional citrus acres immediately after Hurricane Ian in October. Alico has planted approximately 1.9 million new trees since 2017, which has materially increased tree density in our existing and recently purchased groves.”

The company reported net income of $12.5 million for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, down from about $34.9 million the previous year.

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